Sunday, August 28, 2016

Summer Happenings Around The Farm

Someone dropped off a family of cats at my barn during the night. I began trying to trap them and finally managed to get this little black fellow. He was a veritable love sponge but quite unhealthy. I rid him of fleas and treated his eyes with ophthalmic ointment I had from previous pets. I think I'll keep him, but first need to get him to the vet. He's been staying safely out in the barn until I'm sure he won't introduce any health problems to my elderly house cats: 

The baby chicks have grown so rapidly that I often think I can see the increase in size each day. But I have been afraid to let them outdoors because I haven't caught all the cats someone dropped off. Maybe they went elsewhere, but I can't yet be sure:

The fantail pigeons, however, have finally accepted living with chickens. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em:

They are a stunning variety of colors and patterns. Half of them will be cockerels, however, so will need to be eaten. That may seem sad now but won't be when they get old enough to fight all the time and brutalize the pullets:

In the meantime, my remaining Barred Rock hens are enjoying their summer freedom:

Life is good when you have lots of food and water - and no predators hunting you:

I don't know if anyone sees my farm sign, but I notice it when I have to clip the grass which grows all around the base:

It's been a lean year for apples. So far this is all I've found - pretty slim pickins' compared to previous years. Nonetheless, the cows enjoyed them. The horses took them in their mouths and then dropped them:

A fantail pigeon came to the open window and considered taking a flight around the yard:

The first and so far only Clearwing Moth of the year arrived in August and, as usual, went straight to the Tall Garden Phlox:

It was smaller than normal, but still looked like a miniature hummingbird:

I love watching them feeding on nectar with their roll-up proboscis:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Remy And Blue

The two little horses have been licking the mineral salt blocks just as the cows do. I know that our soil is deficient in some minerals, so I am glad to see them taking advantage of them:

Blue was sidelined for about five days by sore hooves. The vet diagnosed them as abscesses but apparently they were not. Nonetheless, the painkillers he left for Blue helped a great deal:

Toward the end of the week, Blue was running wildly across the fields alongside Remy, so I assumed he was healed of whatever had bothered him:

When I walk out into the field, Remy runs right up for attention. Blue wants to be about ten feet away - close enough to be companionable but not close enough to be touched:

And the cows mostly ignore me when I walk out into the field. That's a good sign, for they used to run away when I first got them. Now they usually don't even stand up when I arrive. They feel safe:

Sometimes I can get Blue and Remy to play:

But usually I wind up backing away from Remy, who can't seem to get close enough:

OK, I'll admit it. I enjoy snapping photos of these miniature beauties:

And they enjoy each other's company. Heaven forbid something should happen to one of them. The other would be bereft:

Blue and Remy were born ten days apart and have never been separated. No, never:

When the neighbor brings over grass clippings, the horses arrive first and eat what they can before the big cows arrive. Then they have to go play because the cows take over. That's a good thing, because eating too much of the grass clippings could be problematic for horses (but not for cows):

I began driving out into the field when Rosella's calf was born and it made my life so much easier that it became a regular thing. Of course Blue and Remy think I've brought them a toy to play with and I have to watch lest they pull off my windshield wipers, etc:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

First Evening And Day Two - Welcome, Tabitha!

I double checked and made sure the calf was a heifer. Then I named her Tabitha, using the same name as the calf who died a couple months earlier. I got lots of time to observe Rosella and Tabitha interact. Like her own mother, Rosella leaves her baby sleeping in the tall grass and then, later, goes looking for her to provide another feeding. She has a "mommy voice," a soft, low pitched series of short sounds when she is calling to or talking to her calf. Once the calf is found, Rosella lets roar a couple of loud bellows. I'm not sure what the purpose of that is, but it doesn't seem to be defiant or a warning to stay away:

Early the next morning, while the rising sun was casting a rosy glow over everything, I found Rosella and Tabitha right near the barn:

Rosella didn't want much grain, but I got her to eat a little by carrying a bowl out to her because she wouldn't enter the barn. After she'd had her fill, she walked out into the field and I followed:

I'd feared that something was amiss with Rosella's udder, but I soon realized I'd been wrong. It was symmetrical and well attached. The teats, which started out small, began to get bigger each day:

And Tabitha continued to be playful and curious:

Rosella was being a wonderful mom, with behaviors much like her own mother:

Still in the rosy light of dawn, I continued to snap photos. Tabitha was getting annoyed with me:

And went over to join her mother:

Gracie gave the new calf a sniffing, deciding she was OK. I watched when Tabitha tried to nurse off Gracie. That was not allowed (she isn't lactating) and she gave the little one a carefully placed, ever-so-gentle kick to move her along:

Are you still taking pictures of me?

Everything seemed to be going perfectly and no, that's not a setup for a problem. Things still seem to be going perfectly:

Rosella has proved to be a great mother and beautiful cow. The first calf born on my farm, Rosella now has a baby of her own: